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Partisan Infighting Continues As Federal Shutdown Looms

City Officials Encouraged to Contact White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs with Questions

September 30, 2013
The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs held a nationwide briefing conference call today to inform national local government officials of shutdown procedures and consequences.
Given the uncertainties surrounding the shutdown, it is unclear which local funding sources will be impacted. Specific questions regarding federal funding for local projects and programs were deferred to administrating agency contacts. Intergovernmental Affairs Director David Agnew encouraged local officials to reach out to the relevant governing agencies for more detailed information or send specific questions to iga@who.eop.gov. The League will continue to monitor developments and send updates to cities.

Shutdown Background

Congress for months has debated and negotiated provisions of the FY 2014 annual appropriations bill needed to keep the federal government running. Absent any substantive agreement on a federal funding package, House Republicans introduced and passed a continuing resolution (CR) to avoid a shutdown and keep funds flowing while details were worked out. However, in addition to CR funding provisions, House GOP Members embedded controversial policies defunding the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The CR was rejected by the Democratic controlled Senate and sent back to the House stripped of the ACA provisions. Since its passage both houses have engaged in a game of back-and-forth over the CR amidst escalating political tensions.
Several modified CR proposals have been introduced with Congress unable to agree on an entire package. The House approved a CR over the weekend that delayed the implementation of ObamaCare for one year and eliminated the proposed medical device tax. Senate Democrats quickly struck down the CR and countered with a 'clean' CR sans ACA delay provisions and focused on keeping the government afloat while work continues on the overall FY 2014 budget bill. The latest CR version presented by the House GOP today eliminates employer health care contributions for members and staff of Congress, delays the ACA individual mandate for one year and funds the government through Dec. 15. President Barack Obama has stated he will not sign any legislation that defunds or delays the ACA, but has signaled he would sign a clean CR in order to continue negotiations.
The infighting between the parties has resulted in strong words placing blame on the opposite party. Democrats and Republicans alike claim opposing members are politically motivated by special interests and big money supporters. Republicans argue ACA’s regulatory framework not only significantly increases health care costs across the board, it will result in massive layoffs and reduced employee hours so employers can avoid paying increased taxes to stay in business. Democrats claim that the ACA is already tied to the federal budget and a delay or lack of funding will increase the debt dramatically. Congressional Democrats also contend that the ACA has upheld several court challenges despite consistent Republican attacks.

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